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European Parliament calls for the triggering of Article 7 against Hungary

May 19th, 2017

Pro-government commentators interpret the EP resolution against Hungary as a politically motivated attack by pro-migration forces. An independent and a left-wing columnist, on the other hand, agree with the authors of the text which accuses Hungary of violating basic EU norms.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament approved a resolution that calls for the triggering of a formal  procedure against Hungary under Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty. The resolution tabled by left-wing, liberal and green parties was also supported by one third of the centre-right European People’s Party MEPs. The resolution identifies the Hungarian government’s recent refugee policy (see BudaPost March 10), NGO law (see BudaPost through January 12) and the so-called ‘Lex CEU’ (see BudaPost through March 30) as ‘a major threat to fundamental rights and democracy’, and urges the government to suspend the criticized pieces of legislation. Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said that the resolution is ‘a new attack on Hungary by the Soros network.’  The EU, he said, seems unable to accept the Hungarian government’s efforts to stop illegal migration and ensure internal security. The opposition parties interpret the resolution as an indication that the Hungarian government has lost support within the EU, and as a harbinger of Hungary’s exit from the EU. The sanctions under EU article 7 could eventually entail the suspension of Hungary’s voting rights in the European Council. That is, however unlikely to happen, as Poland has already made it clear that it would veto sanctions against Hungary.

In Magyar Nemzet, Zsombor György describes the resolution as targeting the government rather than Hungary. He thinks that Hungary is at a crossroads, and needs to decide if it wants to follow EU norms, or PM Orbán’s vision that is becoming impossible to square with EU expectations.

In Népszava. Róbert Friss welcomes the resolution supported by one third of conservative MEPs as a huge blow for the government and as an indication of the EU’s willingness to defend its identity and core values. Friss speculates that the EU is being reinvigorated, and thanks to the decline of far-right and EU-sceptic parties, Mr Orbán will have no place in it.

Magyar Idők’s Ferenc Kis interprets the resolution as ‘a joint attack by pro-migration forces in Europe aiming at the ethnic diversification of the continent’ on the Hungarian government, because it rejects mandatory migrant redistribution. The pro-government commentator accuses Western European countries of trying to blame Hungary for their immigration problems. In an aside, Kis suggests that Hungarian left-wing and liberal MEPs have committed treason by voting in favour of the resolution against Hungary.

The sole aim behind the resolution is to weaken the Orbán government, Mariann Őry comments in Magyar Hírlap. She suspects that the resolution is intended to help the left-wing parties. Őry concludes by noting that the Article 7 procedure may last for several months, and is unlikely to lead to the suspension of Hungary’s voting rights.


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